Friday's earthquake paralyzed the Japanese auto industry

Friday's earthquake paralyzed the Japanese auto industry

The automotive industry in Japan is almost completely blocked by Friday's earthquake followed by the devastating tsunami wave that swept the north east coast. Thousands of new cars were damaged partially or totally, and most factories are closed.

Toyota, the largest automaker in Japan and the world has suspended production at all its local plants, at least until Monday after Friday's massive earthquake, which was revised to 9 degrees, followed by a devastating tsunami.

Mitsubishi said on Saturday it will halt production at three assembly plants until Tuesday. Similar measures have been taken and automakers Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co..

At least 2,300 Nissan and Infiniti cars that were waiting to be shipped in the U.S. and Japanese showrooms were damaged and some have even caught fire Friday when the tsunami swept the coast of northern Japan. These vehicles were all 1300 Infiniti M, EX and FX that had to arrive in North America.

At Toyota, several assembly lines and factories were closed. Virtually any model exported to the USA from Japan, from Corolla to the Prius and Lexus and Scion models could be affected. Closed plants totaling approximately 45% of Toyota's global output.

Toyota to decide when it will resume production after assessing the damage and resume the flow of component supply, according to statements by Japanese officials. "We start from the beginning. And that means safety. " No employee was injured when the Toyota devastating wave hit Japan on Friday, March 11.

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., manufacturer of Subaru cars has closed five factories after the earthquake and it is not known when production will resume.

Mazda and Suzuki did not suffer too much from the disaster mainly because their factories are in other parts of the country. But both companies will have an impact on supply and distribution chain.

Mitsubishi wanted to resume production today but a spokesman said that its factories will be closed until Tuesday when the company will coordinate the delivery and distribution with its suppliers of components, some being in the area affected by Calima.

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